Althea Romeo-Mark


Dancing in Head and Heart

For Rosita, names and places
seldom come to the fore.
Memory is a groundswell
no longer coming to shore.
She lives in a body of bones,
once a tower that did not lean.

In the garden of the old people’s home
I skip slow samba on my iphone
pass on sad-voiced Fado*,
seek out rhythmic salsa for Rosita—
Cecelia Cruz, La Lupe, Eliades Ochoa*,
watch how they light a fire
in her often, vacant eyes,
spark a change in her mood.

In this ballroom of mind and heart,
she tugs at my blouse,
wants to move to the beat,
wants to rise to her feet,
but they have absconded,
have confined her to a wheelchair.

I hold her hands
get into a salsa trance for her
and dance for Rosita.

I hear a whispered “Muy bien.”
The fading voice uttering
“mucho gusto,” “bueno, bueno”
will become part of my memory of her.

* Cecelia Cruz, La Lupe, Eliades Ochoa, famous salsa singers.

*Fado-melancholic Portuguese music


Born in Antigua, West Indies, Althea Romeo-Mark is an educator and writer who grew up in the US Virgin Islands. She has lived and taught in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, in the USA, Liberia, the UK, and in Switzerland since 1991. Her poems are internationally published.




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